My Dear Parish Family,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
This beautiful, simple prayer is the first prayer I learned at age 3. It is probably one of the first prayers learned by most Catholic children around the world. It is pure Catholic prose complete with gestures! I was proud to practice, slowly, and finally figure out the hand motions … top of the forehead, deep down to the middle of the chest near the heart, then as far as I could reach from shoulder to shoulder, first the left then the right. Milestone conquered!
As a child, I imagined the sign of the cross as an invisible shield that helped me to be brave and strong in my faith and in my relationship with God. As an adult, the description of the vertical movement equating to my relationship with God and the horizontal movement pointing to my relationship with humankind is a wonderful reminder of our connectedness and our duty to those relationships. I make the sign of the cross 10 or 12 times a day. It reminds me who I am and whose I am. I find great comfort in that connection, that sense of belonging to something with deep meaning and great future, belonging to Jesus.
Today, our parish is blessed to have 105 candidates for Confirmation, receive the sign of the cross on their foreheads as Bishop Barron anoints them with oil and says, “Be sealed with the Holy Spirit.” With this sign and their response, these young people are making a milestone in their own lives, saying ‘yes’ to Jesus and a Christian way of life. Let’s support and encourage them and show them it can be done!
It has been one of my life’s great joys to be a member of the Padre Serra Parish staff alongside wonderful pastors, coworkers and volunteers in the vineyard of our parish home. I have worked hard and tried to give creative energy and physical might to help carry forward the richness our founders began. I am proud of our people and our accomplishments. Now, after more than 15 years on staff, I am retiring at the end of June.
I am ready for the next phase, the next milestone, with a heart wide open to whatever God has planned for me. I will continue to belong to our beautiful parish community as a participant and volunteer! I look forward to grandchildren and vegetable gardens, time to read, walk on the beach, travel the world, to being a homemaker making-home for my husband and family and even writing a book or two. Big and happy changes!
One thing remains the same, the commitment made for me at my Baptism and by me at my Confirmation, to find Jesus in the experiences of our lives and to share his love with others. I loved my job and appreciated the opportunities to see Jesus’ hand in the daily decisions, activities and people. I loved getting to know so many of you, thank you for sharing your lives with me. For those whom I have had the privilege to minister to in Faith Formation, especially those in youth and young adult ministry, I loved loving you, as a mom loves her kids, helping them grow and letting them go.
Jesus said, “I will be with you always.” I have seen him in all of you. Amen.
With a grateful heart, Siempre Adelante!
Parish Life Minister
The descent of the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire on the disciples at that first Pentecost lit the world on fire with God’s presence. That fire has not gone out, as is evident in the many quiet ways parishioners throw themselves into serving God in their care for one another. The work of the parish needs many hands. Some of it is clearly ministerial, as with those who assist in worship, teach children, or provide for the poor. Other hands, though, assist in practical ways to support our life together, often acting quietly to provide us a well-cared for parish campus, or to supply our needs.
(1) I’d like to draw your attention to the back pages of our bulletin/worship aid, to the many people who support the parish quietly, providing us this tool for singing. It’s also one of our primary sources of information on the life of the parish. A very quick survey of those back pages reveals nineteen advertisers I recognize as our own fellow parishioners. Their generosity assists our parish pray and keep informed. I am deeply grateful, and encourage you to continue your parish life by supporting them when you need the many services they supply.
(2) On a different note, I was standing in the parking lot with a parishioner, recently, who pointed out how beautiful everything looked. Parking lots are not often associated with beauty, and yet it’s true (even as our tipuana tipu trees are losing their leaves in their annual molt) – it must be the most attractive place to park a car in Camarillo. That is not an accident. I want to acknowledge quiet heroes, Winifred Jordan, Katherine Kruse and Mickey Hirsch, who volunteer as highlevel gardeners. They have been artfully sculpting our plants, not only in the parking lot, but also in our splendid Stations of the Cross garden, fashioning with care places that are green and life giving where we can breathe in the beauty of growing things. They’ve been volunteering for us for almost four years. We all have reason to be grateful.
(3) On a similar note, essential to the everyday workings of the parish, several parishioners have made themselves available to Dcn Neil Kingsley, who keeps everything in the parish running. When Christmas trees need to be moved, when a second set of hands are needed, when chairs need to be set up, when the seasonal decorations in the church need changing, he has a wonderful crew of volunteers who step up and help out. I’d like to recognize the following men, who I’ve seen working with Neil many times over the years, including Frank Staben, Marty McConnell, Dave Gutierrez, Chuck Bueker, George Marien, and Chuck Mink. Heartfelt gratitude to all of you for what you do for us!
These quiet heroes aren’t seeking our thanks. They love their God, they have a commitment to their parish, and they are willing to step up and make a difference. It pleases me to thank them anyway, and to invite you to celebrate, with me, their goodness.
Perhaps you have a gift that the parish can use. Be quick to step up, taking ownership of this community’s needs. Be a blessing. Take part in setting the world on fire.
Also visit: Pentecost
Dear Padre Serra Family,
Happy Mother’s Day! It brings me great joy and love to write this week about two of my favorite things, Mary and Moms. This is my second official Mother’s Day but my first one with Regina Scully Becker (Reggie) outside the womb. It also is my mom and Reggie’s birthday month which makes this month very special. But the best thing about the month of May is that it is dedicated to our mother, Momma Mary.
Being a mother has been the greatest sacrifice I have ever encountered. During my time as a new first time mom I find myself praying for guidance, strength and love and Momma Mary’s intercession. She is the ideal mother after all. My devotion and respect for her has continued to grow as Reggie grows. She is kind, calm and only lost her son once (and we all know Jesus was supposed to be with Joseph). She gives everyone love and comfort, and most importantly she points us straight to her son, Jesus. She is a great example of love and a great evangelist.
Mary was one of Jesus’ first disciples. Mary followed and believed in Him throughout his life, and like all moms, she talked about him to everyone she knew. She shows us how much God can love us. Without Mary, there would be no Jesus. The sacrifice she made by saying yes to being willing to be pregnant with the Son of God without being married was hard. She struggled. But she didn’t give up. She didn’t even throw in the towel once. She continued to strive for holiness and with being born without sin, she shows us our full potential if we live in true love with God.
So, to all moms out there, thank you. Thank you for the late nights, the early mornings and for sacrificing. You are doing the work of God. As St. Therese of Lisieux says, “Holiness consists simply in doing God's will, and being just what God wants us to be.” God wants us moms to be just that. Moms.
Now, let us end this beautiful Mother’s Day by praying to our heavenly Momma for her intercession and for us to grow a little closer to Jesus today.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. AMEN!
Middle School Minister
Dear Parish Family,
Today we are reminded of our life’s purpose, to love one another as God has loved us. We were created out of love and for love. If we have experienced love in our lives, we have known God, for God is love.
There are many kinds of love. Love for parent, child, spouse, friends, even love for our pets. Each love is special and forms a connection with those we love, wanting their happiness more than our own. The experience of love in our lives empowers us, it fills us with joy and happiness, strength, courage and even self-giving sacrifices. It is the force that drives us, essential to our survival. It is an internal attitude which influences every single thing we do, say and think.
It is easy to love those who love us, like our friends and family or those we admire. I think that when Jesus gives us the commandment to love one another, this is not who he was referring to. It is an automatic response to immediately think of those we love, and their needs. The challenge is to love those who are hard to love. Those who reject us, the stranger, the poor, the sick, the immigrant, or the criminal. They are God’s beloved too. Created in God’s image, with dignity. They too are the body of Christ. We are called to love as God loves, unconditionally.
When we act out of love for one another, we seek to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters. Through love we are connected and their needs are our needs. We teach love by loving. Let us actively seek those who are in need of love, and show them love and kindness.
Faith Formation Minister